Saturday, February 7, 2015

Religion and Barack Obama
What is it he really believes and why?

All contents copyright © 2015 by M.L. Wilson. All rights reserved. No part of this document or the related files may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the publisher.
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Sometime in January 2015, the group known as ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) murdered a Jordanian pilot whose F-16 Fighter Jet had been shot down during a bombing run on December 24th, 2014. First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh was a 27 year old pilot in the Jordanian Air Force fighting back against the burgeoning Islamic State which has already taken over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. His fate was unknown to his country and his family until a video of his gruesome execution was uploaded to the Internet on February 3rd, 2015.

The video quickly went viral—as was the intention of the Islamic terrorists who had recorded the pilot’s death in Hollywood quality detail. It was clear that in this stylized presentation of First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh’s execution, a new dimension had been added to the mix. Gone were the grainy, shaky smartphone videos of the executions which are now commonplace within those areas controlled by Muslims. Instead they have been replaced with High Definition, highspeed cameras and recording equipment to cause the maximum impact in the West as is possible. The slick presentation and the attendant propaganda would have made Joseph Goebbels proud.

Jordan's King Abdullah II was properly outraged at the spectacle and made his thoughts on the subject known swiftly by executing two members of al Qaeda which had been held since a foiled suicide plot in 2005. There had been moves on the part of Jordan to exchange First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh for the captured al Qaeda terrorists, but evidently ISIS believed they could get far more mileage out of the burning death of  al-Kasasbeh than exchanging him for two people who should have already been dead anyway.

The video execution has found a home on the Internet and every news outlet worldwide. There is no doubt it has set the bar for filmed executions for years to come. Outrage over the death hasn’t been unanimous, however. Obviously those pro-ISIS groups have applauded and cheered al-Kasasbeh’s death, but it is the pockets of extremists Muslims and Islamic sympathizers within the United States and Europe which is most troublesome. One such individual appears to be the United States President, Barack Hussein Obama.

Obama’s own personal religious history is already well known at this point even if he isn’t eager to speak on the subject. His father, Barack Obama Sr. was a Muslim from Kenya as was his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro. A young Barack Obama was raised primarily in a Muslim household in Jakarta, Indonesia—a Muslim country by his mother and step-father. It wasn’t until he was a ten years of age when he returned to live with his maternal grandparents in Hawaii. His mother and step-father remained behind in Indonesia, both pursuing their careers.

Obama’s religious exposure during his time with his maternal grandparents was through the Unitarian Church. The Dunhams were described by Barack Obama in his book, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” as willing to sample religions as one would sample cuisines. He reiterates this religious sampling in his subsequent book, “The Audacity of Hope” where he states that his mother, Ann Dunham, would be just as likely to take him to a traditional Christian Church or a Buddhist Temple for Easter or Christmas celebrations.

While there is nothing necessarily wrong with learning about other faiths (I have done much study of other faiths myself), there was no formative grounding in the teachings of Christ for young Barry Soetoro. One can look at Obama’s own words in his two autobiographical books to see very clearly that outside of Islam, he experienced no formal Christian teaching. Does this formative teaching mean he couldn’t have had a later conversion and embraced Christianity as he claims? Of course not; most people continue to grow and mature throughout their lives. I point out this spiritual journey of Obama’s only to expand his claims to the contrary.

If it is clear that up through the beginning of his college years Barack Obama’s religious experiences could be described as eclectic at best, then it should be agreed that Christianity was but one small sampling amidst many different religions—with the study of Islam being the primary force. So what changed when he reached collage?

There is little doubt that Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, had an impact on his life. In a very real sense, she was the only mother he had ever known. Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham was busy with her own life and career and was with her son only sporadically from 1971 onward. However his mother left her mark on Obama’s consciousness as well. As he explained in his book, “The Audacity of Hope,” his mother was the most spiritually awakened person he has ever known: “… she possessed an abiding sense of wonder, a reverence for life and its precious, transitory nature that could properly be described as devotional.” While his mother didn’t adhere to any particular organized religious beliefs, she seemed to have a direction and a commitment to those ends, those being a sense of Social Justice.

None of this translated into any great spiritual awakening for Obama once he reached college, however. He studied philosophy in an attempt to make sense out of life and his place in it. At the end of the day, he was still a boy who had been rejected by his birth father, abandoned repeatedly by his birth mother and separated from his step-father. By the time he was in college, Obama had come to understand that most people—despite what they said to his face, were actually out for themselves.

The people of faith he encountered in Chicago seemed to lack the zeal he found in his mother. His own religious journey of sampling different religions had come back to put him in a role more as an observer, than as a participant. Again in his book, “The Audacity of Hope” he explains that without a vessel, an unequivocal commitment to a particular community of faith, he would be “… consigned at some level to always remain apart, free in the way that my mother was free, but also alone in the same ways she was ultimately alone.”

Part of Obama’s self-discovery eventually led him to Trinity United Church of Christ.  On some level which had eluded him through most of his life, the philosophy of the church as expressed through its very charismatic leader, Jeremiah Wright, touched him in a way none of the earlier religious samplings had. Obama described the church and Wright as “…like family” to him.

Jeremiah Wright had taken over as the lead pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in 1972. At that time, the church had a membership of approximately 250, though only about ninety people were regular attendees. Wright’s scholarly pedigree is impressive with a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in English from Howard University. An additional Master’s degree was attained from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the United Theological Seminary. He has subsequently taught at Chicago Theological Seminary, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and City Colleges of Chicago.

Despite this background in what would be regarded as Christian-based theological training, Trinity United Church of Christ’s mission statement is based upon the teachings of Black Liberation Theology. Thus what a young and still evidently impressionable Barack Obama entered into when he decided to make Jeremiah Wright his mentor and Trinity United Church of Christ his “family” was less a Christian environment as outlined by the New Testament Gospels, and more of a Social Justice concept with a singular goal of liberating Blacks from the constraints placed upon them by Whites and the ugly history of slavery.

Black Liberation Theology can be traced back to a group of 51 concerned clergy who called themselves The National Committee of Negro Churchmen. This group bought a full page ad in the July 31st 1966 edition of the New York Times to publish their “Black Power Statement,” which proposed a more aggressive approach to combating racism using the Bible for inspiration.

Anyone even vaguely familiar with the Civil Rights Movement in the United States understands that the 1960’s were a tumultuous time for Blacks. Too many anti-Christian ideas had been adopted by narrow-minded bigots to support inequality between the various ethnicities (I do not use the term race as we are all but one race: Human. Ethnicity is a better term). While such people used the Bible to support their views that Blacks and other ethnicities were essentially “sub-human,” it is of note that all such people had to go to the pages of the Old Testament to do so. Such teachings are not evident within the Gospels or the Epistles of the New Testament. Why does that matter? If it’s in the Bible, it’s in the Bible. Well yes and no. Let me explain.

Without belaboring the construction of the canonical scriptures here in this commentary (much of that was covered in my earlier commentary which can be found here: ), it must be understood that Jesus Christ came and fulfilled the Law. As the Apostle Paul points out in his letter to the Church of Colossi:

“God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the Powers and Authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”                            - Colossians 2:13-15

The teachings of the Old Covenant are no longer binding to us as Christians. I realize that this is radical thinking to many good people of God, but it is never the less the truth. Paul explained quite clearly that:

“All who rely on observing the Law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’  Clearly no one is justified before God by the Law, because, ‘The righteous will live by faith.’ The Law is not based on faith; quite the contrary. ‘The man who does these things will live by them.’ Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us …”
                                      - Galatians 3:10-13

Paul also goes onto explain that because we are no longer operating under the constraints and limitations of the Old Covenant and its Laws, we are viewed en masse by Jesus Christ far differently than was humanity viewed by the Old Testament God.

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave no free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
                                     - Galatians 3:26-28

When we feel we have been wronged, we want to correct the error. If such correction is ignored, we then have a tendency to want to lash out; to enforce our view of what is good and true on those we see as abusing the truth. This is human nature and in and of itself is perfectly normal. Black Liberation Theology saw a situation in which mere prayer wasn’t yielding the results desired and decided to try a different tactic. One can agree or disagree with such tactics, but is such at its heart a Christian philosophy? Is using the scriptures and Christ’s teachings in a manner to marginalize others while promoting self any different than those who have wrongly applied outdated and obsolete scriptures to justify all manner of horror upon their fellow man?

I recently read the autobiography of Harriet Ann Jacobs titled, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself” One of the most heartbreaking passages in this book when she had finally decided to escape her master and fled. The plan didn’t work out as well as she would have liked and she wound up having to eventually hide herself in the attic space of her grandmother’s house. She remained in this small space for seven years while she had to watch her son grow up, catching only fleeting glimpses of him over the years through cracks in the siding.

Jacob’s master at this point in her life was a man named Dr. James Norcom. Despite being widely admired, Norcom had a dark side to him which was evidently overlooked by his compatriots. A member of the Episcopal Church, Norcom seemed to express none of the Christian teachings he’d received (if any) through the church to his slaves. Instead he looked upon Jacobs—and other female slaves—as little more than sexual playthings. He had many out of wedlock children which the church completely ignored. In light of Christ’s teachings as highlighted by the Apostle Paul, how can this behavior be reconciled and regarded as Christian? As a point of fact, it cannot.

While there was widespread “racism” and bigotry in the history of the United States, it is unfair to say that all “Whites” held such a view. Many, many white people fought and died to rid the nation of the scourge of slavery. A personal anecdote from my family tree: The Wilson family owned several slaves, including a mother and son, in the mid-1850s. By all accounts, these slaves were regarded as family and treated as such. When the old Wilson patriarch died, he left these slaves to his sons. However he had more sons than he did slaves so those who did not receive slaves were given the cash value of a slave instead.

My great, great, great Uncle was busy putting together a militia in the anticipated chance that the Union would fracture. He had no time to care for slaves and was not in agreement with the entire notion of slavery in any respect. He paid for the slave’s freedom out of his own pocket—a sum which was $1300.00 for the mother and son. One of the other slaves, a man in his early twenty’s, was also freed and joined his militia to help the fight against the Southern States should they break away from the Union.

This is but one story I know of personally because it is a part of my family lineage. I am well aware of the fact that views were different towards different people back then than it is today. However there are many countries all over the world in which slavery is still very much alive. Most of those countries are Islamic, not Christian. Despite the fact that it was perfectly acceptable in Kentucky in 1858 to own slaves and not one person would have batted an eye had my ancestor decided to keep the slaves he inherited, he and his brothers eventually opted to give them their freedom. They were the radicals of their day and expressed the truth of Christianity. I point this out only to say that to paint an entire ethnicity with so broad a brush is not of Christ whether one is Black or White.

The brand of Black Liberation Theology which Barack Obama was taught by Jeremiah Wright at Trinity United Church of Christ was anything but Christian. One could easily look at such teaching as on par with the stunted, bunkered, homophobic and erroneous teaching which was spewed out of the mouth of “Pastor” Fred Phelps of the Westborough Baptist Church of Kansas from 1954 until his death in 2014. How can anyone honestly say that either Pastor is really teaching Christ when one vilifies homosexuals, stating that God hates them all and desires to kill them and the other man vilifies all white people because they are all racist slaveholders who do not see Blacks as people?

How would people see Barack Obama had he studied under Fred Phelps and attended the Westborough Baptist Church rather than Jeremiah Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ? Would he have even been taken seriously as a candidate? It is highly unlikely. Since the late 1990s when the growth of the Internet gave Phelps a higher profile than he had ever enjoyed previously, Westborough Baptist Church has been labeled the church of intolerance and hate. Again how is their philosophy any different than that of Trinity United Church of Christ? I would submit that when one looks objectively at both bodies and the tenets of their particular beliefs, hate and intolerance predominates in both.

Out of this cauldron of hatred has emerged the Barack Obama who can look into the camera and make a comparison between Christianity and Islamic Terrorists—not Islam, mind you, but only these particular terrorists. Obama, for as much “sampling” of other religions as he has done, has clearly found some sympathy with Islam. This is not surprising as once again, this was his formative religious teaching; Islam for him is like going home.

Black Liberation Theology is not a Christ-centered teaching and as it is more a Social Justice philosophy, Obama is perfectly content to declare himself a “Christian” while being blinded to the horrors which are the tenets of Islam. Ignored by Obama are the passages which condone slavery, subjugation of females, pedophilia, misogyny, and a host of execution methods which are all a part of the Qur’an and the Hadiths; the essential tenets of the Islamic faith.

Obama failed to explain why ISIS executed this Jordanian pilot in the manner in which they did. I’m certain he must know, but he didn’t even broach the subject. We have seen ISIS execute one hapless man after another through beheading. Suddenly we’re exposed to the spectacle of a man led to a cage, doused with an accelerant and set ablaze. After he has died, he and the cage are crushed by rubble and buried in the desert. Why the theatrics? What changed?

The answer lies in the tenets of Islam which were ignored by Obama in his pathetic speech. The term which is best described as “an eye for an eye” in Islam is called Qasas.  (قصاص) as mentioned in Qur'an, 2:178:

“O you who have believed, prescribed for you is legal retribution (Qasas) for those murdered – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But whoever overlooks from his brother anything, then there should be a suitable follow-up and payment to him with good conduct. This is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. But whoever transgresses after that will have a painful punishment."

As a part of Sharia Law, First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh was to be executed in the same manner in which he brought death. As a bomber pilot, al-Kasasbeh’s ordinance exploded buildings, started fires, burned people to death and caused others to die under the rubble of those collapsed buildings only to then be buried. This was indeed an “Eye for an Eye” execution, the symbology of which was lost on most of the West. I seriously doubt that it escaped Obama’s notice, however; pointing out such would not have helped his Social Justice narrative.

Barack Obama has grown very comfortable criticizing Christianity even though he claims to be a Christian. Nothing he has done as an Illinois State legislator, Senator or President has shown he has a grasp of any teachings of Christ. He has sought only to divide and impart punishment unto those he deems unsuitable to his cause. In this, Barack Obama shares much of the same temperament as does the God of the Old Testament, of Allah in the Qur’an, but nothing of Jesus Christ.

The argument he raised, conflating the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition with the acts of barbarism displayed liberally by Islamic followers is a strawman argument. I reiterate that the essential tenets of Islam are being followed by these terrorists. I have cited (and can cite even more) scripture from the Qur’an and the Hadiths to support the fact that the essential tenets of Islam are to eradicate all who do not believe as they do. (For a more in-depth look at Islam, my earlier commentary can be found here: )

Obama’s argument citing comparisons can only be genuine if he also compares the tenets of each teaching. This he refused to do. When one scours the New Testament looking for teaching whereupon Christ instructs his followers to kill others, one is going to come up empty-handed; there are no such teachings anywhere period.

At this point, more than six years into his presidency, Obama’s Progressive Liberal leanings are well known. His knowledge of the tactics of Saul Alinsky has been put to good use, helping to get him reelected. In large measure, ISIS has been allowed to blossom as a direct result of a move Obama made in order to ensure his reelection: Pulling troops out of Iraq prematurely. Against the advice of his senior military officers, Barack Obama pulled out our troops and allowed the gains to secure a stable country in a very unstable region to completely evaporate overnight. Obviously he didn’t see it quite that way, but the fruits of his actions are evident in the numerous gruesome deaths which have followed in ISIS’s rise to dominance.

In a week which saw Obama show only utter disrespect and contempt for a longstanding ally in the Middle East, that of Israel and their Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ISIS pounced and released the snuff film now seen around the world. Whereas Jordan’s King Abdullah II as well as Netanyahu voiced their absolute disgust at ISIS and vowed the craven terrorists would not go unpunished, Barack Obama measured his words carefully and levied no real blame on them at all.

The final veil of doubt as to where Obama’s sympathies lie fell away from his face at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. While he had harsh words for those particular “militants” who had committed the crime, he refused to acknowledge what everyone else in the room seemed to understand quite well: ISIS is a revolutionary Islamic movement not populated with crazies, but rather with fundamentalist ideologues who have shown quite clearly that they mean serious business.

Has Barack Obama abrogated his responsibility to be the president to all citizens of the United States? Given his actions—especially those he has taken since his re-election, it certainly seems so. Further his insincerity with respect to Christianity AND Islam show a man who has no problem lying to the public in order to create a specific image of himself and his ideology. While we have come to expect such lying behavior of our public servants, it does not make it right. An honorable person wouldn’t even consider such behavior, but then we have seen nothing but subterfuge with this particular man.

Since Mr. Obama is so fond of conflating the Old Testament God with that of the terrorist’s actions, I thought it only fitting to point out these scripture verses:

“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment”                  - Proverbs 12:19

“The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.”                  - Proverbs 12:22

"And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers."
                               - Qur’an 3:54

"He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar."
                               - Bukhari 49:857

As a Christian, Mr. Obama should be crystal clear in his intents. Lying should not be a part of his routine. While I am not so naïve as to believe that he is to disclose all to everyone (he is also the Commander-in-Chief and discretion is a part of the job), I do not subscribe to the notion that he must lie to prop up his ideological beliefs. If such beliefs have merit, then they should stand on truth. If they do not, lying only delays the inevitable.

I close with these pieces of scripture from the Apostle Paul. If Barack Obama is truly interested in justice, he would do well to really study Christianity as the relationship it is meant to be to us all, rather than as a weapon to destroy his enemies. Christianity is not Islam and never can be; the two ideologies stand in complete and total opposition to one another. Only those who have not studied the two faiths do not know this. Those who have yet continue to assert they are alike, are lying to themselves and to everyone else.

“I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscious confirms it in the Holy Spirit…”
                                         - Roman 9:1

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.”       - Galatians 5:22-23

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Great Commission:
How did Jesus Christ’s command to us get so screwed up?
All contents copyright © 2015 by M.L. Wilson. All rights reserved. No part of this document or the related files may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the publisher.
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Several months ago I wrote a commentary titled, “Modern Christianity” which outlined much of my observations respecting the abysmal state of the modern Christian faith movement today. While there are many who will take exception with my use of the term, abysmal, I stand by it; the modern church is more an elite country club than a place of true Christian fellowship and worship. It is because of this inability to discern one’s true purpose as a Christian (not to mention a Christian leader) we find the church in the chaotic state existing today. This degradation of the church did not happen overnight, but its coming was foretold in scripture and unfortunately ignored for generations …if not longer. Regretfully we find ourselves not only waging a traditional battle against external forces overtly opposed to Christ, but now also from within the supposed protection of the Church as well.

Many of the issues I had raised in that earlier commentary are going to be briefly revisited here. The need to do so is quite unfortunate because I had hoped the first commentary would have resonated enough so as to negate the need for any further explanation. Sadly based upon events which have transpired since that first commentary was written, this has turned out not to be the case.

As Christians, we find ourselves in a very perilous time in history. At present, the West is still free enough to where one can practice their faith with minimal resistance. As history has shown, this period of tranquility will not last. Even as I write this commentary, there are groups all about the world working to tamp down, or remove free speech, couching such in terms of “offering reasonable protection” and “being non-offensive to all.” When free speech is removed, so is the freedom to worship and practice one’s faith. Overnight, worshipping Christ could become a felony resulting in a lengthy prison sentence. Anyone reading this who scoffs does not know their history. It has happened in empires as great in their time (if not greater) than the United States. The West is not immune to the madness which has plagued other empires which have existed; we will fall if we do not heed the failures of the past.

This is where the Church is vitally important. A Christian represents the Light of God to the world. This designation does not mean we can fix everything around us, but it does mean that our goals are to reflect God’s will rather than our own. A servant does what he is told to do, not what he desires to do. This is the place where the Church is failing miserably. A church leadership which places a higher premium on the further acquisition of wealth and power will not be terribly effective in battling against the malevolent forces of the enemy. Ironically what such a church leadership fails to see is that their quest for wealth and power is in fact a tactic used by the enemy to disempower them from their primary task: that of being the Light of Christ to all mankind.  We will not have this window of opportunity amongst us much longer and far too many who have been charged with leading their congregation into the Light of truth are instead burying them in the lies of the flesh.

The world is at present roiling over the obscenity which is Fundamentalist Islam. The attack in France against a satirical magazine because they had the temerity to publish unflattering cartoons about Islam, Muhammad and Allah was a very clear indicator of just what evil looks like when left unchecked. Unfortunately we have a United States President who is either too apathetic, or finds himself to ideologically aligned with this Islamic enemy to take any substantive measures to stem their encroachment into the West. While taking steps to do so is not the great panacea many believe it would be, it is no less his responsibility as outlined Constitutionally. This is an important concept to understand because Barack Obama’s example of feckless leadership is reflected by the leadership in our churches as they encounter their evil today.

In time, Islam will succeed in their conquest as long as our leaders – both secular and religious – continue to lie to the people in their care about this danger. We are sometimes led to expect that politicians are (to a degree) going to play games with their allegiances on the international stage. They are, after all, just politicians. A politician’s primary allegiance is to themselves. Period.  However to see the same behavior from our church leadership, it is most troublesome. We do not expect our pastors and Bible teachers to put themselves first, yet that is exactly what we find repeatedly when we brush aside their rhetoric and look at their actions. What do I mean by this? Let me explain.

I reside in a community which I suppose is not unlike many other small communities all over the United States, if not the Western world. This community where I reside has many churches, but sadly few church leaders who are reflecting the Light of Christ to their congregation. To be fair, there are some who do and I do not wish to demean or minimize their efforts and hard, selfless work in this commentary. In fact if one is secure in the knowledge that they are doing exactly what Christ has called them to do, then this commentary is not meant for them. The rest would do well to put the pride and ego aside and continue reading. It just may be that God has directed your eyes to this commentary for that very reason.

 The calling to be a church leader is not a call to be taken lightly. It is a huge responsibility to shepherd others into a correct and right relationship with their Creator. The work will typically yield very little in the way of tangible, earthly rewards as the goal is one of a spiritual nature. As this type of church leader, one will find themselves in the enemy’s crosshairs; one will become their primary target under such circumstances. However, the enemy is also nothing if not a pragmatist. If a church leader presents no real threat to them and their agenda, they will not attack the church leader. A church leader who is focused on building their own career and acquiring wealth and power will usually have to do so by crushing others under foot. The enemy likes to encourage this type of behavior in church leaders because the ramifications of such selfish actions resonate outward in ever increasing waves, destroying more and more in its unyielding path. The enemy is well aware that a little investment at the beginning will often yield huge results for them down the road. At that point, the pastor or church leaders can easily be dispatched by the enemy merely by stepping aside and allowing the light of truth to shine on their now utterly corrupt lives. Few people recover from this type of attack and soon realize the utter vanity of their lives.

 I suppose it is fair to ask of any reading this, “What is it to be a Christian?” The reason I pose that question is because it seems that throughout the many centuries which have passed since Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, those of us remaining here on this earth have no clear idea of the answer. Oh we think we do, but does thinking we know the reason make it so? In order to be honest with a response one would need to explore exactly what it is which Jesus Christ commanded of His followers … and why. The answer one comes up with has a tremendous bearing on how one will proceed with their belief and what they regard as God’s intent for their life. That answer is the same whether one regards themselves as having been called to the pastorate or not; we are all to be Lights to our fellow man.

I will start with the exact passage of scripture which Christ imparted to His small band of Apostles just prior to his ascension:

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted. The Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’            - Matthew 28:16-20

I would like to just take a quick moment to expand on the definition of certain words in this passage of scripture so there is no misunderstanding. Those familiar with my commentaries are well aware that I hold that there is but one Creator God Almighty; I do not subscribe to the orthodox Trinitarian Godhead view as it allows for three separate creators to exist, all with decidedly different means by which they will deal with humanity. Christ was very clear when He declared, “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:7), and “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) The “one” used in John 10:30 is rendered as just that in the Greek: Heis - One, singular. This concept needs to be completely understood, or most the rest of this commentary will not make much sense.

As I have explained in my commentary on the Holy Trinity (which can be found here: ), that Creator God Almighty chose a discernible visage by which to communicate to us face to face was not only reasonable given His essential construct which Paul describes as, “…who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see.” (1st Timothy 6:16), but necessary. If we in our limited, corporeal human state cannot understand Creator God Almighty in His natural state of being, then it is necessary for Him to choose a state by which we can see and comprehend Him. This He did in the form of the Christ.  Doing so does not make Jesus Christ out to be something other than exactly what He is: the human presentation of Creator God Almighty.

Similarly, the Holy Spirit – the pneuma in the Greek, is another presentation of Creator God Almighty to us in our limited state. I have called the Spirit “relational causality” because to me, that is exactly what it is: The power of Creator God Almighty manifest through our relationship with Him. Absent a relationship, there is no power thus, no attendant causality as a result of that relationship.

Such thoughts and concepts about the three presentations of Creator God Almighty towards His human creation tend to make Christians raised on orthodox teaching very uneasy; fear of stepping out into something unfamiliar takes immediate hold and binds them from seeking the truth. Part of that truth is that most Christians raised on orthodox teaching have never explored the scriptures or the nature of God for themselves. Too many of them rely on pastors and teachers of scripture to tell them what to think, never questioning the veracity of the many varied (and often wild) versions of the “truth” which are given to them as fact. This dearth of personal knowledge and understanding creates a vacuum in the individual which must be filled with something. Either truth will enter in, or error. Ultimately it is for the individual to decide which is which, but I present my arguments in such a manner as to aid in that decision.

Now that I have given a brief overview of just who I believe Christ commanded his followers go forth and baptize others and in whose name, we can proceed. In the first chapter of Acts, Christ is about to ascend into Heaven and He gives his Apostles some last minute information which is also meant for us.

He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit (again, Pneuma in Greek) comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’                                                                                                                          – Acts 1:7-8

In the absence of the Christ in body, He has given us a Himself through His Pneuma – His Spirit which through the strength of the relationship we as His children have with Him, also gives us His power. This is a very important concept which we as Christian need to understand. This power – this relational causality – is extraordinarily powerful within the confines of this relationship with Creator God Almighty. If it was not regarded as a necessary component, Christ would not have explained it was coming, nor would he have explained the power contained therein. But Christ did explain that it was coming and that it was incredibly powerful.

So Christ has given us His marching orders and He leaves, promising to replace his bodily presence with this vague Pneuma, relational Causality, or Holy Spirit – whichever you prefer. On its face, of what good is something so intangible and misunderstood that the early church fathers did not even make it part of the Nicene Creed until 486 AD? Stop and allow that information to sink in for a moment. Christ is thought to have been crucified approximately 33 AD. (the exact year is a little vague because of the manner in which the event was recorded so we’ll accept this approximate date as adequate) Accepting what we would regard as the year 33 AD as the year in which Christ gave this Great Commission and when He ascended into Heaven, another four hundred and fifty-three years would pass before the Spirit was finally accepted by the early church as legitimate.  In this year of 2015, 453 years ago it was the year 1562.

Here is what was going on in the world 453 years ago. There was no King James Bible as Queen Elizabeth was the sovereign of the British Empire; the future King James was not yet born. 1562 saw the Council of Trent near its conclusion as a Catholic response to the Protestant Reformation. It would be another 58 years before the first colony would be established at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. We look at these events as ancient history, yet this is the exact same span of time the early church fathers had to deal with respecting Christ’s ascension to Heaven – and they did not have Google. Why did they struggle so with identifying exactly what the Holy Spirit was if it had been made so clear from the outset? Moreover, given the vacillation they struggled with over identification, why do we rely so much on their conclusions over 1500 years after the fact? Are we so certain that the 2nd Nicene Council was correct? If so, then why was there the need for a Reformation at all? If one holds to the notion that it was the Catholic Church itself which had become corrupt, why not just return to the purity of the 1st and 2nd Councils? If one is so steadfast in the identification of the Holy Spirit as outlined by this council, then why is there any need to split along the Protestant and Catholic lines? Would one not be regarded as “parsing” scripture to fit a presupposition by choosing one side over another, yet allowing major aspects of doctrine to remain untouched?

Of course the Protestant Reformation had much more to do with individual national sovereignty than it had to do with Biblical doctrine or dogma and I am aware of that fact. Regardless too many present-day pastors and teachers on the Bible know so very little of their subject matter that in any other profession, they would be shown the door post-haste. Would one trust a financier with their life savings if he couldn’t explain basic economic theory? Doubtful, yet isn’t that what we as Christians do every single Sunday? Many of the issues I have raised in this commentary as well as the history is completely unknown to the majority of seminary graduated pastors; such information is irrelevant to their personal goals.

Why is it that we Christians care so little for the truth? I realize how that question sounds, “What does he mean I don’t care about the truth! What gall!”  I understand the irritation with the statement I’ve made, but given the type of people we place in positions of authority over our Spiritual relationship with Creator God Almighty, the naked fact of the matter is we do not care too much for the truth. It seems we first care mostly about feeling good about ourselves, and as a close second, what we can get out of this relationship with God. Everything else – EVERYTHING – is subordinate to these first two. If we can latch onto a pastor or church leader who can give us those two thing (even if they must lie to us to do so), then our search is over; no more truth need be given to screw up our perfect image. This isn’t a new tactic by any means. Christianity, since the time of the formation of orthodoxy under Constantine the Great, has been sold to people as a “Me first” religion. I like to refer to Christianity as imparted to us through the lie of orthodoxy as the religion of Meism.

Because the Protestant Reformation did not adequately address these errors laid down by the Ecumenical councils begun with Constantine the Great in 325 AD, but rather merely focused on separating the Catholic Church as the spiritual head over the various countries within its Empire, too much erroneous doctrine was allowed to continue on without impediment. Latter church leaders wrestled with the incongruities obvious throughout this warped version of the “truth” as laid out by these early councils and then validated by the impotence of the Protestant Reformers. Conclusions as to the true nature of God and the nature of man were reached by an ever growing list of these thinkers. From their rationalizations came Puritanism, the Deists, Dispensationalism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Adventism, et al. How many lives were destroyed as we attempted to bend people to an unnatural spiritual will, crushing them under these ever increasing complexities of religious faith? Far too many, and often in grotesque and horrific ways.

However like their Catholic brethren, these “new” religions took only small nibbles from the edges of the monstrous doctrine of Meism and never really did much to assess the doctrine as a whole. Thus though they believed they were creating an entirely new understanding of who God is, they were really just playing a shell game with the same old parts established under Constantine. Left intact in their “new religious understanding” was much of the old Catholic understanding; the stern and wrathful Old Testament God, the enigmatic, ethereal Holy Spirit and then the impotent, wraithlike figurehead of Christ: This comprised the unknowable Holy Trinity. Also left untouched were the flaws in the belief that the universe was only six to ten thousand years old, the concept of an eternal Hell, and the inerrancy of scripture, and so on. Were any of these teachings really present in what had been recorded by the Gospel accounts or the Apostle’s epistles? No, but when we are led by erroneous presupposition, it isn’t difficult to see why we have been taken so far off course.

Today, as in the centuries gone by, religion is big business. It doesn’t matter if it is Christianity, Islam or some other religion, the leadership has all figured out a way to sell humanity their version of God to acquire wealth and power. The people who are commanded to fill the pews in church with regularity lest they risk eternal damnation are now merely marks, not people in need of a Christ-centered relationship. Yes, church today is a business and those who run those businesses do not put up with much foolishness such as truly reaching out the neediest within their sphere (regardless whether or not they are church members) in order to help them. Too many church leaders see such actions – unless specifically earmarked through a pre-arranged benevolence fund – as a useless waste of precious resources.

The leaders of these businesses which peddle God for cash like to point out how much schooling they have, like to place themselves on a par with leaders in “secular”  businesses up to and including touting the fiscal “bottom line” in annual sales and like to compare the size of their congregations as a measure of their success. The bigger the church and congregation, the more successful, the more powerful and the more “godly” is the church leader. How can one argue with that? One easily can if one is lead by the Spirit.

Sadly and regretfully, the acquisition of wealth, power and position is all these type of leaders are focused on. God is merely the product they sell in order to achieve their goals. Because of their ignorance of just who Jesus Christ is; because of their ignorance of just who we as human beings are before God, they sell out their fellow man for 30 pieces of silver and do so over and over again. Too cynical an assessment you say? Based upon the exceptionally sorry state of our churches today, I would say that my assessment might be too lenient. We are beset with too many church leaders who know nothing of their God, let alone the reason they are here on this earth … and it shows.

Jesus Christ was very clear in His admonition to those who chose to follow Him, “You will be hated by everyone because of Me…” (Matthew 10:22)

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.  And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,  saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?
- Luke 14:25-34

The church today does not regard “counting the cost of being a disciple” as a worthwhile endeavor because it places their lives and beliefs under the harsh light of truth. Now exactly what is this truth which burns them under its glare? This truth is that far too many of them answer to their flesh and not to their spirit; too many within the church are indiscernible from those who do not believe in Christ to the eyes of the world. These Christians fight and claw at one another to gain a small scrap of real estate on this earth, ignoring the fact that even if Christ does not return in their lifetimes, their lives are immeasurably short regardless.

“Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!”                                             – 1st Corinthians 6:3

Would one pay $10,000.00 for a concert ticket to see their favorite band, front row center, but then yammer and talk throughout the entire performance, missing the show? Of course not. $10,000.00 is a lot of money even for someone with wealth. One wouldn’t be so caviler about wasting it. Yet everyday most of us do exactly that with a gift which Christ tell us is priceless. We waste the small piece of time we have here on this planet on selfish and worthless pursuits. In so doing, we usually cause great harm to those to whom we are supposed to be reflecting the very Light of God.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
- Proverbs 16:18

Pride and ego wreak much destruction on humanity. It is interesting how many people would literally rather die than admit they were wrong. Why is that? Why is admitting one was wrong such a grievous act that one would rather die than face the truth? The answer is really quite simple. When one is ruled by fear, one is never certain just who they are. There is confusion and uncertainty. Absent a right spiritual relationship with our Creator, the flesh takes over. Nature abhors a vacuum, thus the void must be filled with something. But is the flesh an adequate substitute for this spiritual void? Of course not. The flesh knows the flesh and the spirit knows the spirit. One cannot possibly replace the other, but we continually attempt to do just that.  

So Pride and ego - components which are natural to the flesh - take over and control the individual suffering this spiritual void. Paul pointed out this danger in his letter to the Church at Rome, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator.”  (Roman 1:25) Thus one proceeds upon this false premise that through the flesh, this void is adequately filled. However it is not and can never be. The flesh is not transcendent as is our spirit. We make a very poor trade indeed when we allow the flesh to replace the spirit. When we finally leave the body, what can we take with us if we’ve never nurtured the spirit within?

Why is it that the church from the time of Constantine has behaved in this manner? One could argue that prior to Christ, all religions were false and following after the wrong god. Christ points this out repeatedly throughout the Gospels when He speaks about entering into a world in darkness. How could Christ come into a world of darkness if Creator God Almighty was already present? However even if one holds to this view, then where does that leave us as Christian in this present day? Are we to continue to behave as though we exist in darkness?

No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part is dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the lamp shines on you.   – Luke 11:33-36

For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of the darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.                       -2nd Corinthians 4:6

Being a Christian is no small endeavor. Christ said that we would be hated, stalked, hunted down and even killed. Our life here has one primary function as a Christian: To be a Light to our fellow man. There is no other reason for us as Christians to be here. We are Christ’s servants and this is what He has asked of us when we agreed to follow Him. Our walk in this world is not about getting saved; that function could be performed by only one being, and that being did His duty. What God desires of us in the waning days of this present realm is to be His face to one another.  Is that really so hard? Is such a request so difficult that we simply refuse to do it? Evidently with this modern version of Christianity, the answer is a resounding Yes. When we discard our fellow man due to his appearance, class, ethnicity, sex, even belief, we are staring straight into the face of Jesus Christ and telling him to, “Screw off!”

God is love and the Apostle Paul stated very eloquently, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”                                                                – 1st Corinthians 13:1

Too often I allow my passions to get away with me while I write these commentaries. I sometimes come across more harshly than what I am feeling, but the feelings are no less real to me; I feel very strongly about the subjects I write on. When I see good ministries destroyed by small, petty people who have succumbed to pride and ego, I become passionate. Such people rarely see themselves as the adversary they’ve become because their entire teaching from the church has been to focus on Meism. How could one possibly recognize the damage they’re doing to the Kingdom when their very pastors have been doing nothing but teach them to destroy by example – by word and deed? Frankly, one could not possibly see such error unless their heart is touched is some form or fashion by the Spirit of God. Such pricking of the Spirit can come from some of the most unlikely of places, hence this commentary.

I truly do believe that if one is called to the pastorate, that Jesus Christ MUST be first in the called one’s life. Gone are the individual pride and ego issues. Such are incompatible with the job of leading others into the light. Sadly such an admonition is given very little import in today’s seminaries. The result has been a corruption of the church which will allow the enemy to gain the necessary foothold for the coming change in the cosmological order; it will allow the Anti-Christ to reign.

If our church leaders are so easily led astray by their pride and ego, where does that leave the rest of the body? How many times can we as individuals “church hop,” in a vain attempt to find someone who possesses God’s heart before we give up in discouragement altogether? This church hopping is a growing trend in the church today. Part of it is apathy on the part of people, part of it is the growing influence of the Internet, but a large part of it is due to a lack of vision within the body and exceptionally poor leadership.

I’ve written an earlier commentary on what I believe we as Christians should do with our present day fixed structures. (That commentary can be found here: ) However that is only a part of the solution. The remaining part is that we must understand we are no longer our own when we accept Christ. Again this isn’t about saving our soft little behinds from the fires of Hell, but rather about giving ourselves to Christ in servitude; to be His face to one another. We must stop practicing a religion of Meism and start obeying Christ’s admonition to make disciples (read Learned Ones) of our fellow man. What makes anyone believe that are more deserving of God’s love than someone else? To be a servant as Christ defined it is to regard everyone else as better than themselves. Pride and ego simply cannot flourish in such a garden.

If you are a pastor and are reading this, you need to put your pride and ego aside and ruminate upon what I have written. I am not a formally schooled theologian, but I have the same pedigree as did Jesus Christ, the Apostle Peter, John and James. However even the teachers and writers you may have studied in seminary had to have been taught by someone who had no such formal schooling. No doubt you are familiar with the writings of Marcion, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Origen. None would qualify for leadership in your denominations today due to their lack of approved schooling, yet you’ve (hopefully) studied them. For God’s sake, why given their lack of formal training?

Instead, most of you have latched firmly onto a theory which has no Biblical basis in fact whatsoever called Dispensationalism and the Rapture. You teach these doctrines as though they were spoken by the mouth of Christ Himself, yet not a shred can be found to buttress your claims. What causes you to be so dogmatic and bunkered in your thinking? “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” Is it fear? Is it ignorance? Could it be mere simple pride which causes you to refuse to acknowledge that God often times uses the least likely amongst us to be His font of truth? Ah yes, that is a bitter pill to swallow indeed.

As pastors, you need to do some deep, prayerful contemplation as to just who you are before Creator God Almighty. He does not care a whit about your position before men. He does not care a whit about your pride or your ego. He does care about you deliberately dimming your light to your fellow man in order that your pride and ego can shine more brightly. Such is as filthy rags before him.

As a Christian, one must make similar prayerful contemplations about who they are before Creator God Almighty. Our time here on the earth is very, very short. Soon we will all come to that moment where we will close our eyes for the last time. When that moment comes, there is no going back to “fix” anything; your time in this realm is concluded. What you created on earth will be what you will take with you to set before the feet of your Creator. At that moment, will the church golf outing you organized, but which excluded many hurting men in your congregation who could not afford the fees seem a worthwhile endeavor? Will excluding women in your congregation from the annual Ladies Retreat because they do not have the means financially or have help to watch their children bring anyone of you closer to being the Light of Christ? Will turning away the poor and bedraggled because they “smelled” be regarded as the act of a righteous servant of God?  Will channeling more and more of needed funds to yet another church building be regarded as good stewardship with the tithes given by many in your congregation who frankly cannot afford to do so, but obeyed God regardless? Will ignoring the holocaust that is abortion in your community because it is too hot a political topic be seen as courageous?

Each and every one of the above scenarios – and countless others I haven’t listed – can be remedied if we as the church actually bow our knees before Creator God Almighty, become the servants He desires us to be, and get rid of our useless pride and ego. One simply cannot read Proverbs 16:18 and think it cannot possibly apply to them; one would have to be lying to themselves.

Choose this day whom you will serve. Either it is Creator God Almighty, or it is the flesh. One cannot serve both God and mammon; one has to choose. Both have a cost, but only one promises an eternal reward. How foolish is the one who chooses unwisely?